The Fantasy Footballers RB Rankings Recap – Part 2
The Footballers started working through their rankings heading into the draft season for 2020. The top-10 RBs episode dropped this past weekend with the second RB Rankings episode dropping on Monday. Here’s the rank for each Fantasy Footballer as well as their current ADP in BestBall drafts.
For more discussion and full video profiles on each player, check out the award-winning Ultimate Draft Kit.
11. Kenyan Drake – Andy: 11 / Jason: 8 / Mike: 12
Current ADP: 2.04 / RB9
Kenyan Drake was the RB4 from Week 9 on, arguably the most popular league winner late in the year. The team was able to somehow ship off David Johnson‘s contract in exchange for DeAndre Hopkins, making room for Drake to be the team’s locked in RB1 (while simultaneously vastly improving their team) heading into 2020. The scheme is perfect for Drake, as Kliff Kingsbury‘s offense lined up with 4WR sets at a 33% rate, helping to create massive running lanes for Drake and company out of the backfield. Drake will have every opportunity to be this team’s workhorse back, but his efficiency could come down given the increased workload he’ll see in 2020. However, his volume and talent should be enough to keep him inside the top 12.
12. Nick Chubb – Andy: 12 / Jason: 10 / Mike: 13
Current ADP: 1.12 / RB8
Nick Chubb was fantastic on the ground as a runner in 2019, finishing 2nd in the NFL in rushing yards behind only Derrick Henry. However, it’s impossible to talk about Nick Chubb’s fantasy outlook without bringing up the massive splits between he and Kareem Hunt went Hunt returned from suspension last season. From Weeks 1-10, Chubb was fantasy’s RB6, but from Weeks 10-17 with Hunt in the lineup, he was the RB15. Hunt is likely to steal receiving work from Chubb, but Chubb projects to have some positive regression in the TD department after the team spent significant resources on the offensive line in free agency and the NFL Draft. He still as top 5 upside even with Hunt on the roster.
13. Joe Mixon – Andy: 9 / Jason: 12 / Mike: 14
Current ADP: 1.09 / RB7
It really was a tale of two seasons for Joe Mixon, who struggled early in the season thanks in part due to an ankle injury as well as a lack of usage from the coaching staff, then exploded down the stretch. From Weeks 1-8, he failed to surpass 20 carries in any game. But, from Weeks 10-17, Mixon averaged 22.1 carries per game, and he was fantastic for your fantasy roster, finishing as the RB4 over the final two months of the season. Still, question marks remain including a rookie QB in Joe Burrow as well as an offensive line that struggled in 2019. If the line play can improve and the offense can take a step forward with A.J. Green back on the field, Mixon’s talent should be enough to help him push for back end RB1 numbers.
14. Austin Ekeler – Andy: 14 / Jason: 14 / Mike: 11
Current ADP: 2.11 / RB14
Ekeler probably has the most question marks out of the other RBs in the rankings, including the QB play. With Philip Rivers at the helm in 2019, Ekeler caught 92 footballs and caught eight TD passes. With some sort of combination of Tyrod Taylor and (maybe) rookie Justin Herbert, those numbers are likely to regress. However, the team committed to Ekeler as their lead back after signing him to a new contract this offseason. Joshua Kelley and Justin Jackson could steal early-down work from Ekeler and with less receiving volume, Ekeler may not be able to push for the RB1 numbers he produced last season.
15. David Johnson – Andy: 16 / Jason: 16 / Mike: 17
Current ADP: 5.08 / RB25
David Johnson finds himself on a new offense in 2020 after being traded away from the Cardinals this past offseason. He now lands in Houston where Carlos Hyde leaves behind 242 carries from 2019. You have to figure Bill O’Brien will give Johnson every opportunity to succeed in Houston after trading away arguably the best WR in the game in a deal to acquire him. The volume will be on his side, but will Johnson lose receiving work to the other D Johnson on his team, Duke Johnson? If so, it could limit his upside given that when Johnson produced RB1 numbers early in 2019 with Arizona, it was primarily through the air. It’s now been four years in a row that the Texans have ranked bottom 5 in passes to the RB position. Will they break that trend in 2020?
16. Le’Veon Bell – Andy: 17 / Jason: 18 / Mike: 15
Current ADP: 4.10 / RB22
Simply put, Le’Veon Bell was wildly inefficient last season in his first year with New York, finding the end zone just three times while posting an abysmal 3.2 yards per carry along the way. Even so, Bell finished 2019 as fantasy’s RB17 in half PPR formats, thanks to his 78 targets in the passing game. The Jets offense projects to be bottom 10 once again in 2020, but they’ve revamped the offensive line, Sam Darnold (hopefully) won’t miss time because of mono, and Bell should be due for some positive TD regression in 2020. He’s a safe RB2 who won’t bust on a week-to-week basis, but this is still an Adam Gase offense.
17. Chris Carson – Andy: 18 / Jason: 21 / Mike: 16
Current ADP: 3.09 / RB17
From Weeks 1-10, Chris Carson was the RB7 in fantasy while averaging 21 touches per game, good for fifth-most in the NFL. Despite fumbling seven times (four lost), Pete Carroll remains committed to Carson in a run-heavy scheme. The only real question mark surrounding Carson is the fact that he’s coming off a fractured hip from the end of the season, and without a preseason, it’s difficult to assess how he’s performing on the field. Regardless, his injury risk appears to be baked into his ADP given that he’s going as a mid to back end RB2. Sneaky stat – Carson is also more involved in the passing game than it may appear. He ran the 15th most routes among RBs in 2019.
18. Melvin Gordon – Andy: 15 / Jason: 15 / Mike: 26
Current ADP: 3.07 / RB16
Melvin Gordon now finds himself in Denver after signing a new 2-year deal in free agency. He’s coming off an RB23 finish in fantasy, but this is only because he held out looking for a new deal from the Chargers for the first four weeks from the season. From Week 7 on, he was the RB9 and averaged nearly 15 fantasy points per game. The Broncos spent up in free agency to get Gordon, suggesting he’ll be the team’s goal-line back and favorite for the majority of touches, but Phillip Lindsay isn’t going away. However, if Gordon does get the bulk of the work, he’s got a good chance of finishing inside the top 15. An interesting stat – 95% of RBs over the last 25 years with 250 touches & 8 TDs finish as top-15 RBs in fantasy.
19. Todd Gurley – Andy: 20 / Jason: 17 / Mike: 24
Current ADP: 3.06 / RB15
All three hosts are lower than consensus on Todd Gurley, who now finds himself in Atlanta after being released by the Rams. He goes to a situation where he should have every opportunity to lead the backfield, but will his knee be able to hold up with the heavy workload? Devonta Freeman finished as the RB20 in this offense just one season ago, but there’s reason to be concerned with Gurley, who was heavily featured in the Fire & Ice episode last week. Spoiler alert: He was Mike’s Ice pick, suggesting he could bust in 2020.
20. James Conner – Andy: 22 / Jason: 22 / Mike: 18
Current ADP: 3.12 / RB18
James Conner, when on the field, is always a productive running back, but he’s certainly an injury risk in 2020. You could argue his injury risk is baked into his ADP as the 18th RB off the board, but his upside is much higher if he can stay healthy. I wrote up a detailed injury profile about Conner in the Ultimate Draft Kit. Mike Tomlin has shown a tendency to lean on one lead back, and Conner should have every opportunity to be this team’s lead back in what projects to be a bounce-back campaign for the Steelers’ offense as a whole with Big Ben back under center. Conner probably has the biggest range of outcomes at his current ADP, but the ceiling is certainly there…as is the floor.